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WPGM Review: Griff Live At O2 Academy Bournemouth (In Pictures)

Sunday 24th March brought the British sensation Griff to her native south coast with a gig at The O2 Academy in Bournemouth, accompanied by an enthusiastic and eclectic crowd eager for an evening of top-quality pop. Griff’s stop in Bournemouth was part of a wider 15 date European and UK tour, with this specific event being her first UK date, supported by the wonderful Cxloe, who got things kick-started for the masses in attendance.

Being her first gig on these illustrious shores, Australian born Cxloe was able to stretch out into an 8 track supporting set, providing a great overview of her extensive list of releases.

Starting off with “Devil You Don’t” with its solid beat and confident lyrics, moving onto “Shiny New Thing”, and then a track I’ve certainly listened to numerous times since, “Cheating On Myself”, with its retrospective lyrics and anthemic chorus which advocates for putting you and your happiness first over fixing others (and also provided an opportunity for a lyrically relevant middle figure up gesture!). At this point, the crowd was already suitably warmed up.

Up next was one of her earlier tunes “Show You”, a sultry yet upbeat pop track co-written by Sam Farrar of Maroon 5, then we moved onto one of her most recent, “Chloe Enough”, a synth-led bassy song highlighted with thumping drum opportunities… perfect when your set is just you and an awesome drummer!

The bouncy yet serious R&B song “Swing”, which focuses on a certain type of toxic relationship was the following performance, and is another personal playlist entry. We were then down to the final two, the first of which a yet unreleased track named “Shapeshifter” which I’m sure will be a big hit when it makes it out, then the final song, “Soft Rock”, a pounding experience centred around an illogical love with an epic-soundscape.

Cxloe may have only just made it onto UK shores, but I’m sure many would have gone home wishing it’s the first of many opportunities they get to see her in the future!

And so after a short interlude, the headline act was ready to make her entrance, and what an entrance it was. As Griff strolled on in her amazing outfit (puffy skirt & purple leggings), she ripped down the dark curtains to reveal several long strips of stage decoration, including one with the names and dates of previous tour dates spray painted on.

She then proceeded to mount a ladder and add to this list with “Bournemouth” and “24/03” (however, as she went on to acknowledge soon after, she had accidentally missed out the “u” in Bournemouth!).

Then soon after, the stripped back intro to “Black Hole” began and the crowd were immediately captivated, with this captivating growing as the track grew into its darker pop rhythm and heartbreak lyrics (the perfect segway from Cxloe).

Next up was “Walk”, more bouncy in tone with an optimistic swagger, especially given its focus on that undefined x-factor in the person you love. Then we were onto “One Foot In Front Of The Other”, a vibrant and plucky twist on a song focused on the struggle to recover from heartache, giving it an optimistic forward-thinking twist.

The evening swiftly moved into a great three-track run, comprised of “Head On Fire” (a collaboration with Sigrid, based on the confusion newfound love causes), “One Night” (a more melancholic tune about regrets), and “Shade Of Yellow” (with its solid beat and themes of simple safety and comfort).

Then, to the surprise of the crowd, Griff left the stage and moved to a small setup in the middle of the room (ultimately a large crate with a mic on top!). Here she performed two acoustic tracks. This was a perfect setup for a venue like the O2 Academy, with its more circular design and balcony levels, creating an intimate atmosphere where everyone felt included.

The songs in question were “Earl Grey Tea” and “So Fast”, the former originally already a stripped back piano ballad around mortality and loneliness, the latter a beautiful acoustic ballad about holding on to a love before its lost. This perfect one-two punch created a moment many will take away and remember for a long time to come.

Griff soon returned to the main stage to recommence normal proceedings, kicking off with “Good Stuff”, a haunting piano track (yet again demonstrating the musical talent on show) detailing how difficult memories serve a purpose in commemorating the great moments in life.

“Into The Walls” was another melancholic track, this time about vulnerability and the want to isolate, but coupled with a strangely catchy chorus that’ll leave you toe-tapping. This chapter of the gig was ultimately wrapped up with “19th hour”, a reflective number about holding on to a fading love.

Everyone had already been on quite a journey, with plenty of top-quality pop on show, but there were another 6 tracks to go (a testament to Griffs back-catalogue), and this final chapter started with trio of unreleased tracks… “Hole In My Pocket”, a simple yet touching song on loss, “Pillow In My Arms” all about comfort in hard times, and “Cycles” with its energetic dance-music inspired tempo. All three of them release-worthy and I’m sure will be massively successful once they are.

And so we moved onto the final songs of the evening, the heavy hitters! “Miss Me Too”, another electro-pop up-tempo song, this time about re-finding yourself after a relationship ends (which I find myself singing many days later and is definitely on that aforementioned playlist!).

Then the familiar tones of “Vertigo” begun, exploring the fear of vulnerability in a way that seems optimistic at times, whilst providing an opportunity for a little “call and response” with the crowd as they finished off lines in the chorus enthusiastically.

The finale was a beautiful and heartfelt moment, a great representation of a gig that captivated those in attendance, with a smattering of confetti behind her as the bewitching “Astronaut” was performed, and as the song wrapped up, there was a collective feeling of satisfaction.

The previously mentioned journey had been an amazing one, with ups and downs in tone and energy, but much like some of Griffs song allude to, every one of those moments are beautiful and meaningful in their own way. The night created memories to cherish for many, and although it was sad to say goodbye, it won’t take those happier memories away.

Griff is expected to release Vertigo Vol.2 in April, and I would highly suggest seeking it out when it finally does, you wont regret it one bit.

Word and photography by Andrew Roast

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